Chiara Lubich's speech at Sports Arena (Rome), March 31, 1990: to bring love back into the world
«Let us take a look at several symptomatic scenes of today’s world. We observe in Eastern Europe, in the nations which have recently experienced changes, people who are overjoyed with their new-found freedom. Beside them, however, are people who are frightened, disillusioned and depressed over having seen their ideals collapse. We can read on some faces threats of retaliation, revenge and even hatred. Let’s stop to think: what would Jesus say if he appeared among them? We can be certain: he would still speak, today as he did in his time, of love. He would say: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). Only together, in harmony and in forgiveness, can a solid future be built.
Let us move on to other locations, to a country of Latin America, for example, as if watching a series of images fading in and out. On one side, we see skyscrapers, often modern cathedrals erected to the god of consumerism, and on the other side are slums and misery, moral and physical degradation, and sickness. What would Jesus say about this distressing scene? “I told you to love one another. You didn’t, and these are the consequences.”
And if other pictures, as in a collage, were to offer us flashes from cities known as the richest in the world, and then from other cities of the most advanced technologies, and then panoramas of desert wastelands with starving men, women and children. What would Jesus say if he appeared on the scene? “Love one another.”
Or if we were to see scenes of racial strife with massacres and violations of human rights… Or unending conflicts like those taking place in the Middle East with homes collapsing, injuries, deaths and the continual use of deadly bombs or other fatal weapons? Let us ask ourselves once again: what would
Jesus say looking upon such dramatic situations? “I told you to seek each other’s good. Love one another as I have loved you.” Yes, this is what he would say looking upon these and all the grave situations in today’s world.
But his words are not only words of regret for what has not been done. He truly repeats these words to us today. He has died but he is risen and – as he promised – he is with us every day, to the end of the world.
And what he said is of enormous importance. This sentence, “Love one another as I have loved you” is the master key to solve every problem; it is the fundamental answer to overcome every evil affecting humanity. The “Youth for a United World” can find no better way to fulfill their task of cooperating in giving a soul to the world than by bringing love back into it. Certainly, it is not what it might seem at first glance; it is no easy task. Challenging and arduous as it might be, this love has the power to change the world.
Jesus defined the commandment of love as “mine” and “new.” It is especially his since he filled it with a unique and new content. “Love one another,” he said, “as I have loved you.” And he gave his life for us.
Therefore with this love, life is at stake. He is asking us to love our brothers and sisters to the point of being ready to give our lives for them. Friendship or kindness towards others is not enough for Jesus, neither philanthropy nor solidarity alone. The kind of love that Jesus asks for is more than nonviolence. It is something active, dynamic. He asks that we no longer live for ourselves but for others. And this requires sacrifice and hard work. He asks everyone to change from cowardly and egotistical individuals concerned only with their own interests and things, into small heroes who, day after day, are at the service of their neighbors, ready to give even their lives for them. Dearest young people, your vocation calls you to this, if you don’t want your ideals to vanish in utopian dreams.
You must love in this way, love one another in this way, beginning yourselves to be witnesses to this love before you propose it to others. Witnesses, models: may the world see how you love one another and therefore, repeat what was once said of the early Christians: “See how they love one another and are ready to give their lives for one another.”
Then a solid foundation will have been laid; the root of the tree we want to see blossom will have been planted. This mutual love among you will, in fact, bring consequences of what we could call an infinite value. In fact, where there is love, there is God. As Jesus said: “Where two or three are united in my name (and this is to say, in his love) I am there in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20). You will then have Christ among you, Christ himself, the Almighty and from him you can hope for all things. Jesus himself will work with you in your countries, because he will, in a certain way, come again into the world, wherever you meet, because you will make him present through your mutual love, through your unity. He will enlighten you about all that is to be done. He will guide you, he will sustain you, he will be your strength, your fervor, your joy. Because of him, the world around you will convert and live in harmony; every division will be healed. He said so: “That they may be one and the world will believe” (Jn 17:21).
The commitment you have made for yourselves is a magnificent one and no one but he can be your leader in the struggle.
The commitment, therefore, is to love. Generate love among you and sow love in every corner of the earth among individuals, groups and nations. Make every effort so that the invasion of love of which we have spoken in the past, may become a reality, and also with your contribution, the civilization of love which we all await, may begin to take shape. It is to this that you are called. And you will see great things. Just think. If God has won in the chapter of history we have been living through, what is going to happen if we add to the direct action of God, the efforts of young people, of many young people whose actions are guided by Christ present among them through love?
Go ahead, then, without hesitating. The youth you possess does not count the cost; it is generous:
make the most of it.
Go ahead, those of you who are Christian, who believe in Christ. Go ahead, those of you who are members of other religions, sustained by the very noble principles which you hold. Go ahead, all of you young people of other cultures who may not know God but you feel in your hearts the need to spend all your energies for the ideal of a united world!
All of you, hand in hand, be certain of this: the victory will be yours».